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The Spectator Podcast: The jihadi next door

8 June 2017

3:18 PM

8 June 2017

3:18 PM

On this week’s episode, we discuss the relationship between Islam and violence, question why Brexit hasn’t been a factor in this election, and ask you to embrace the darkness.

First up: in this week’s cover story, Tom Holland considers why Theresa May was wrong to dismiss the London Bridge terror attack as ‘a perversion of Islam’ rather than interrogating its roots in the history of the religion. He joined the podcast along with Christopher de Bellaigue, author of The Islamic Enlightenment. As Tom writes:

“Last Saturday night, religiously motivated killing returned to London Bridge. Three men, swerving to murder as many pedestrians as they could, drove a rented van across the very spot where severed heads had been fixed to the bridge’s southern gatepost. For eight terrible minutes, terrorists — no less convinced than Tudor inquisitors had been that they were the agents of a stern and implacable god — visited slaughter upon Borough Market.”

Next, we turn our attention, one last time, to the election campaign. In his column this week, James Forsyth says that ‘the failure of the Remain dog to bark in this election is surprising’. So why haven’t the 48 per centers imposed themselves on this election? To discuss, James joined the podcast along with Polly Toynbee, whose new book with David Walker, Dismembered: How the attack on the state harms us all, is out now.


For a preview of their debate, listen below:

And finally, if the shambolic state of British politics has sucked you into a black hole of despair, you should take a moment to enjoy the darkness. Laura Freeman, in this week’s magazine, says she has become ‘obsessed’ with darkness, especially in a world of constant street lamps and pocket sized LED displays, which impinge on our ability to shut out the world, and she joins the show to discuss.

As Laura writes:

“I’ve become obsessed with darkness. We talk about the ‘right to light’ in cities: the right not to have your windows and garden blocked out and overlooked. What about the ‘right to night’? To darkness undisturbed by security lights, undrawn curtains, phones left on all night. Friends seethe about partners leaving BlackBerries on the pillow, beaming messages from the office, from New York, from Sydney. Will our children think it quaint that we ever needed night lights as their own bedrooms are lit by the harsh glare of energy-efficient street lamps? Will we play babies to sleep with lullaby videos on iPads where cot mobiles used to hang?”


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